It’s an unassuming Wednesday afternoon well and truly after the lunch rush has died down and Josty has handled the necessary cleaning. He’s leaning against the door frame between the front of house and the bakery, door propped open with his foot as he watches Alexander work humming quietly to himself as me prepares the dough for proofing overnight.
Really they were just waiting for closing time, Erik, Sammy and Cale had all headed out almost a full hour ago leaving just the two of them to finish closing. Josty was just checking his phone for the time when the little bell above the shop's entrance chimed signaling a customer's arrival.
Josty didn’t react at first, too lost in his own head. It was only when Kerf stopped humming, looking up from his work on the prep bench and making his way through the door where he was standing, gently slapping him on the cheek to get his attention.
“How come none of you Barista boys pay attention to our customers.” Kerfy said, leading the way to the front as Josty followed along behind trailing like a lost puppy.
“I pay plenty of attention to our customers.” Josty whined petulantly, “I was just distracted, it’s almost closing time anyway. Who comes to a coffee shop at 5pm?”
The answer of course came quickly in the form of three tall, well built men.
“Fuck no,” Alexander said turning the second he locked eyes with the small group, “Not my job, not my problem.” He shoved Josty in front of him and hastily made his escape to the familiarity of the kitchen.
“Oh.” Josty said dumbly as he stood face to face with a small entourage made up of professional hockey players.
“Tyson should make this a cat cafe.” The youngest one with greasy blond hair said vehemently as if the lack of cats was a personal attack.
Josty wasn’t the biggest fan of hockey but he was Canadian enough to recognise the 4th overall pick for his local team - who apparently has some strong opinions on cats or something - and the captain of aforementioned team.
He could hear Alex laughing at the slightly slack jawed expression across his face from where he was hidden in the safety of the back.
Turning quickly to shoot his useless coworker a glare trying to convey his urge to slap his hand across Alex’s mouth and wrestle him in to silent compliance, as they usually would if the cafe was empty (it had cost the two of them several frustrated lectures from big Tyson but what was one more lecture about responsible workplace conduct especially considering the hypocrisy.)
A small cough from the slightly shorter ginger man with an admittedly nice beard who was sandwiched between the two blonds - the only member of the small trio that Tyson didn’t recognise.
“Um, sorry I don’t think I have the authority to turn the place into a cat cafe,” He said dumbly. “I mean not that I’m opposed but I think the boss is allergic or something.”
“Wait. Gabe, why didn’t you say Tyson was allergic to cats.” The greasy blond looked afronted at his prospects of a cat cafe being crushed.
“Um,” Josty interrupted, “I just said the boss was allergic, not me… wait why would Gabriel Landeskog know about my allergies.”
He heard a sound that sounded suspiciously like a snort of laughter coming from the kitchen again.
The kid and the ginger were wearing matching expressions of confusion while Gabe was smirking in a smug knowing way.
The beat of silence was stretching to a slightly uncomfortable length.
“Uh,” Josty started
“So you’re Junior then?” Gabe said at the same time. Saving Tyson from awkwardly trying to continue as normal.
“Why do you know that?” Josty said. He liked to think he was usually a pretty even keeled kinda guy but forgive him for finding it strange that an NHL player knew his employer’s nickname for him.
Tyson tuned back in from his moment of panic to hear Gabe talking.
“Yeah my Tys is always talking about his baby Tyson, sometimes I think I’m going to be replaced - or he’s going to adopt Junior or something.” Gabe was explaining to his two teammates.
The younger blond - Bo or Owen or something like that Tyson wracked his brain trying to remember - looked like he wasn’t paying attention, eyes glazed over like he’d heard similar tangents several times before. While the other man also seemed to be tuning out his eyes were fixed quite clearly on Tyson.
Mentally pinching himself to refocus, trying to ignore the ginger's confusing but intense stare Tyson opened his mouth to cut the rambling off.
“Wait, you know Barrie? Why does my boss know you? What the fuck.”
“Shit that reminds me,” Gabe said, stopping in the middle of the sentence he was already halfway through still somehow completely ignoring the question. “Tys asked me to drop this off after the press junket.”
For the first time Tyson’s eyes were drawn to the relatively small box in Gabe’s hands. He placed it on the front counter sliding it across to Tyson. Who looked at it with an increasing degree of dubious curiosity leaving it sat up the bench where it was placed.
“Right.” Tyson trailed off seeming to accept that - at least for the moment it was rather unlikely any answers to the many, many questions racing through his mind.
“Oh hey little dude, Junior, whatever.” The kid said rocking back and forth on his heels in a way that resembled an actual child.
Tysons eyebrows moved into a frown, he was only an inch or two shorter than any of them and it seemed a bit rude for this kid barely out of his teens as Junior - though to be fair the name tag he was supposed to wear very rarely found its way into his apparel.
“Can I get, like a Hot Chocolate please?” He continued apparently oblivious to Tysons annoyance as he dragged out the vowels in the please.
Tyson opened his mouth to launch into his regular customer service spiel before he was interrupted - apparently a recurring theme throughout this interaction - by a snort coming from the ginger.
“Bo, we have a game tomorrow.” He said with a clear look of cynicism across his handsome face, “Can you imagine if Mac found out you had a Hot Chocolate?”
“Oh come on Comphy, don’t be such a wet blanket” Bo said with a pout that once again reminded Tyson of an actual child.
“Whatever man,” The ginger - Comphy apparently, Tyson made sure to make note of that in his mind for no particular reason shut up - shrugged. “Just trying to look out for the rookie, don’t know why I bother.”
“We do actually offer a kinda healthy hot chocolate.” Tyson interjected, his service training taking over as he offered Comphy a placating smile. “We make it with cocoa powder, maple syrup instead of sugar and almond milk.”
“Yeah! Let’s do it!” Bo said quickly, making sure to beat out his teammate who had both opened their mouths, likely to once again shut him down.
“7.50 thanks.” Tyson said following the kids' lead and not giving enough time for the other to interrupt before quickly escaping to the back to grab the required ingredients that Alex had preemptively put away ready for close.
“Why the fuck are there a bunch of Avalanche players in Barries shop.” Josty hissed to Alexander who was innocently kneading dough again.
“Great question,” Alex said, not looking up from his baking. “One that I would also like an answer to, they were in the other day too. I think big Tyson is friends with the captain or something.”
“What the fuck,” Tyson said “What the fuck, what the fuck, what the actually fuck.”
Alex just laughed quietly, eyes soft.
“So can we close now?” He asked, finally looking up once the mushy look on his face was back under control.
“Wait no I came back here to grab that weird healthy Hot Chocolate mix Barrie’s been working on.” Josty said, grabbing said mix from the shelf over Alexander's head, face turning warm as he was pressed up against his coworkers back.
_/ _/ _/
It wasn’t until they’d finally locked the shop 15 minutes later than they were supposed to close, much to the annoyance of Alexander that Josty finally remembered the mysterious box their boss had apparently asked a god damn NHL player. A captain at that to casually drop off to their humble little shop.
“Apparently boss man asked Gabriel freaking Landeskog to drop this off.” Tyson said, hefting the lightweight box in his arms as he walked into the back where Alex was sitting on the floor tapping away at some game on his phone.
“What game tickets or something?” Came the response from the floor where Alex hadn’t even moved to look up.
“Psht, I wish.” Tyson snorted, placing the box on the prep table. “It’s just a box of something.”
“I bet it’s a signed jersey.”
“No way, why would Landeskog drop a jersey off to the bakery if him and Barrie are friends”
Alex furrowed his brow finally looking up from his phone.
“Dare you to open it.” Josty said, sticking his tongue out at the man on the floor.
“No way dude.”
“Aw come on.” He pressed, picking up the box and waving it in front of Alexander's face in an enticing manner before continuing in a sing-song voice “Triple dog dare you.”
“Oh fuck off.” Alex grumbled but took the box, he was never able to say no to Josty for long.
The two of them leaned over the box and Alex prided the folded flaps open.
“What. The. Fuck.” Tyson said clearly annunciating each word individually as the box revealed a handful of completely innocuous cleaning supplies.
Together they dug through the box determined to find something other than clothes and a couple of dish chemicals they’d run out of earlier in the day.
“Why the hell does Tyson Barrie have an entourage of NHL players running errands for him?” Alex questioned.
“More importantly,” Josty leveled “Why do NHL players listen to what he wants. I mean we barely listen to him and it’s kinda what we’re paid to do.”
“Ooo, maybe Landeskog has a crush on Tyson.” Alex suggested trying unsuccessfully to keep a straight face.
“Yeah right,” Josty laughed. “Have you seen his wife? Don’t get me wrong women aren’t my thing but Landeskogs wife is beautiful.”